Currently Browsing: Bechdel-Wallace List

‘The Kite’ explores the unique kind of strife brought by changing land borders

A teenage girl from a Lebanese village must leave her mother and brother to cross the Israeli-Lebanese border as she is off to fulfill an arranged marriage to her cousin. Meanwhile, she and a border soldier fall in love from a distance. In The Kite (2003), director Randa Chahal Sabag explores the traditions of the Druze community while communicating the unique kind of strife brought about by political unrest and ever-changing land borders. (RMM: 3/5)

CONTINUE READING

Germaine Dulac’s ‘La Cigarette’ might be a silent film, but it has a lot to say

TCM will feature films from 12 decades— representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles, all created by women. Read more about this here!  La Cigarette is a silent film from 1919, but its gender politics and relationship drama hold up surprisingly well for a modern audience. With excellent direction and naturalistic performances, it’s a […]

CONTINUE READING

Gillian Armstrong’s feminist film ‘My Brilliant Career’ illuminates why women feel compelled to fulfill societal roles

In 1979, director Gillian Armstrong created one of Australia’s finest pieces of feminist film—My Brilliant Career. Based on the novel by Miles Franklin, it centers on a woman who is full of spirit and determination to take full control of her own life. Judy Davis stars as the protagonist who is ready to defy all societal expectations with her thoughts and actions, without a care for what others think. (KIZJ: 4/5) 

CONTINUE READING

‘This Is the Sea’ is a fascinating glimpse at Ireland in the late 1990s

TCM will feature films from 12 decades— representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles, all created by women. Read more about this here!  McGuckian’s This Is the Sea has been largely forgotten over time. Still, it shares a forbidden love story between a Protestant girl and a Catholic boy in Northern Ireland during the […]

CONTINUE READING

Director Zelda Barron’s ‘Shag’ kicked off the “naughties” by reminiscing about American teenage life in the late 1950s

British director Zelda Barron directed Shag in 2001—a film that throws its audience back to simpler times. Starring Page Hannah, Annabeth Gish, Phoebe Cates, and Bridget Fonda, Shag is a friendly and heartwarming film where getting caught by the parents is life’s biggest disaster. (KIZJ: 3/5)

CONTINUE READING

A romantic and imaginative summer in ’27 Missing Kisses’

The film is filled with absurd and sometimes fantastic images; a layer of unexpected tragedy keeps the viewer riveted. (AEL: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

Exploring a cruel, misogynistic practice, and finding hope, in ‘The Day I Will Never Forget’

Through this critical look at the arguments around the practice, the film presents a compelling discussion of women’s needs, concerns, and dreams. (AEL: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘An Angel at My Table’ is life captured in motion

A life’s journey captured in motion: female auteur Jane Campion is at her best in this canonical masterpiece from 1990. Based on writer and poet Janet Frame’s autobiographies, An Angel at My Table depicts in three parts Frame’s incredible struggle for existence in a world which was never made for her. (MJJ: 5/5)

CONTINUE READING

Three stages of womanhood in Marzieh Makhamalbaf’s triptych ‘The Day I Became a Woman’

Writer and director Marzieh Makhamalbaf explores womanhood in Iran, complete with its yearnings and losses.

CONTINUE READING

Through the perspectives of women, Sabiha Sumar explores violence and unrest in the name of religion in ‘Silent Waters’

In a Pakistani village in 1979, a mother watches in sorrow as her teenage son becomes indoctrinated into a group of radical Islamist militants bent on converting the entire country to Sharia law. As her relationship with her son crumbles, she experiences flashbacks from her childhood in 1947, another time of political unrest when the country of Pakistan was forming. In Silent Waters (2003), director Sabiha Sumar explores violence and unrest through women’s perspectives, who often stand to suffer the most as its result. (RMM: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

Hausner’s ‘Lourdes’ handles religious faith and miracles with delicacy

TCM will feature films from 12 decades— representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!  French film Lourdes explores religion, faith, and skepticism through the story of a woman on a trip to seek healing at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Neither overtly for […]

CONTINUE READING

Mystery, melancholy, memory, and comfort pervade Júlia Murat’s ‘Found Memories’ like sunlight in an empty room

In Found Memories (2011), Júlia Murat quietly observes the daily happenings in a tiny Brazilian village. When a young photographer arrives to photograph the few elderly residents and their homes, she finds herself captivated by the setting’s antiquity. In just a few days, she grows close to the village bread baker, who spends her days lost in memories and routine. Beautifully composed visuals in each frame paired with minimal yet expressive acting add movement to a story steeped in mystery, melancholy, and – strangely – comfort. (RMM: 5/5)

CONTINUE READING

Featuring striking visuals, ‘Rachida’ captures the essence of fear and resignation in a community

During the Algerian Civil War, a young school teacher tries to live her life as she witnesses violent terrorism instill fear into the community. First-time director and Algerian Yamina Bachir hits the ground running, exploring civility’s disintegration in a country otherwise filled with culture, tradition, and love. Though a bit slow in pacing at times, Rachida (2002) is both poignant and visually striking. (RMM: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

Silent film ‘Shoes’ is a surprisingly moving portrait of hardship in the early twentieth century

TCM will feature films from 12 decades— representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!  While certainly giving into some of the melodrama common in silent films of this era, Lois Weber’s Shoes is a moving tale about poverty and the lengths one young woman must […]

CONTINUE READING

‘Born in Flames’ boldly imagines women-led political world

The film is a passionate portrayal of intersectionality and injustice within a fictional social world that looks a lot like our own. (AEL: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

Ida Lupino’s ‘Outrage’ tackles the subject of rape at a time of strict regulations on content

A young, newly-engaged woman ready to start her life is raped on her way home from work one night. Suffering mentally from the attack, she abandons her life, her family, and her home in an attempt to forget what transpired— and to regain some semblance of faith. Ida Lupino’s Outrage (1950) tackled rape when it was even more taboo than today. Film regulations of the period further limit its scope of exploration on the subject. (RMM: 3/5)

CONTINUE READING

Director Shaohong Li’s ‘Stolen Life’ shows us an example of how a life and a love were impacted by a single choice

In 2005, Shaohong Li directed the coming-of-age drama Stolen Life (Sheng Si Jie), starring Xun Zhou and Jun Wu. The film won the Best Narrative Feature category at Tribeca Film Festival and is a sobering presentation of how drastically life can change when an unexpected child comes along. KIZJ (3/5)

CONTINUE READING

“Girlfriends” is a friendship love story

I’ve joked before that I’ll always want to watch a movie about two friends in their twenties facing existential growth and discomfort. And it’s true! I would.

CONTINUE READING

Parker Posey shines in ‘Party Girl,’ a capsule of the New York City 90s club scene

TCM will feature films from 12 decades— representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!  This very campy film about a party girl who finds her calling as a librarian mainly works due to Parker Posey’s charm. While the fashion is fantastic and the film is […]

CONTINUE READING

A compelling immigrant narrative is marred by a weak script and acting in Ela Thier’s ‘Foreign Letters’

In 1982, a young girl and her family must adjust to life as immigrants in America after leaving Israel to escape war. While exchanging letters with her best friend back home, the young daughter finds a new, lifelong friend in a quiet Vietnamese girl in her class. Based on her own childhood, Ela Thier’s Foreign Letters (2012) chronicles the struggles of assimilating to a new language and culture while yearning for the one you left. Unfortunately, its engaging subject matter does not cancel out its weak script and static acting. (RMM: 2.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

Martha Coolidge brings to screen the comedic Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘Lost in Yonkers’

Director Martha Coolidge collaborates with writer Neil Simon to adapt his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Lost in Yonkers. A warm and kind coming-of-age film where two boys are forced into a new way of living when they stay with their strict grandma in Yonkers. (KIZJ: 3/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘Children of a Lesser God’ blazed a trail for representation but doesn’t hold up today

TCM will feature films from 12 decades— representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles all created by women. Read more about this here!  Children of a Lesser God was a leap forward in representation for deaf and hard-of-hearing people in film, both in its characters and the actors hired to play them. However, decades […]

CONTINUE READING

‘Corpo Celeste’ sparks conversation about the church and its place in society today

A 13-year-old girl struggles to find her place in society after moving back to Italy with her mother and older sister. Soon, she finds herself wrestling with the tumultuous growing pains of youth while trying to make sense of the Catholic church and her place in it. Alice Rohrwacher invites us to look—alongside her heroine— at a society from the outside and observe the ways in which religion permeates a people. (RMM: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

Though steeped in patriotic pathos and historical context, ‘Tomka and His Friends’ sustains the lighthearted energy of a children’s adventure

When occupying Nazis set up camp on their soccer field after the withdrawal of Mussolini’s Italian forces, a group of boys vows to defend it. Together with the partisan resistance, they fight for freedom from fascism – and have quite a bit of fun in the process. Xhanfize Keko’s Tomka and His Friends (1977) offers a unique spin on a sub-genre of child adventures, grounding it in history while infusing it with patriotic pathos. (RMM: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

Though nostalgic and sweet, ‘Dogfight’ reminds us not to romanticize the past

In 1963, a  group of young marines spend a night in San Francisco before being deployed to Vietnam. When one invites a shy, frumpy girl to a party called a “dogfight,” he has no idea that he will have fallen for her come morning. Director Nancy Savoca captures a moment of love and tenderness during a time of political upheaval. Historical context in Dogfight (1991) adds a further layer of nostalgia while inviting the audience to look at the past through a more critical lens. (RMM: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘The Women Who Loved Cinema’ and the female pioneers of Egyptian film

In her two-part documentary series, The Women Who Loved Cinema (2002), director Marianne Khoury recounts prominent Egyptian actresses and filmmakers’ lives from the 1920s and 1930s. These women would advance the development of Egyptian cinema, leaving their mark on a growing industry. (RMM: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

Kirsten Johnson reflects on and reveals life as a documentary filmmaker in ‘Cameraperson’

Documentary director and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson assembles parts of the footage from her years of work into a masterpiece feature Cameraperson. The compilation includes multiple storylines from across the world and captures the lives of many in front of the lens, but also the psychology of those behind the camera. KIZJ: (4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘Krane’s Confectionery’ demonstrates society’s sexist mindset along with its refusal to acknowledge the need for self-care

A single mother who works as a seamstress struggles to support her children while she drowns in work. When she meets a man who challenges her to be a little more selfish, she finds herself reevaluating her entire life. Krane’s Confectionery (1951) demonstrates the ways in which men and women alike participate in the patriarchy while exploring a society’s refusal to acknowledge the basic need for self-care.(RMM: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

Director Larisa Shepitko takes us into the human psychologies of people during the war in ‘The Ascent’

Larisa Shepitko directed and co-wrote The Ascent. The film is a haunting drama set during the Great Patriotic War in World War II, with its story based on Vasil Bykaŭ’s novel, Sotnikov. Boris Plotnikov and Vladimir Gostyukhin star as two partisans who fight for survival physically and emotionally amidst the brutal winter in 1942. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

A beautiful take on family and friendship in ‘XXY’

XXY is about wielding love over fear, about parents realizing that “wanting the best” for their children sometimes means something unexpected.

CONTINUE READING